My progressive values remain focused on social and economic justice, public education, and the environment. Working with progressive advocacy groups and individuals, I drafted and filed nine bills for the 2019-2020 session of the state legislature. I will co-sponsor many more bills to help Massachusetts continue its journey toward justice, equity, and opportunity for every resident.
Bills Filed in the 2019-2020 Session
H75 An Act Establishing a Sick Leave Bank
Passed House and Senate; awaiting Governor’s signature
A long-time state employee and resident of Brookline is fighting a terrible disease. Pamela has exhausted all of her sick and vacation time, but needs a bit more time to recover before returning to work. This bill allows her colleagues at the Department of Children & Families to donate their sick or vacation time to her, so that she can complete her recovery and then return to work.
HD1751 An Act Relative to Senior Property Tax Deferral
There is a senior property tax deferral program in place now, but it is restrictive and punitive. This bill seeks to (a) eliminate the requirement that the senior be a 5-year resident of that home and a 10-year resident of Massachusetts, (b) increase the income eligibility to the same standard of eligibility for the senior circuit breaker tax credit, (c) reduce the default interest rate from 8% to a rate based on recent state and local bond rates, (d) delay the interest rate increase to 16% from the day of the senior’s passing to one year later to allow his or her family the time necessary to settle the estate, and (e) require the municipality to inform participants of their current balance at least annually.
HD1460 An Act Requiring Retailers to Accept Cash for Certain Purposes
There is a new trend of retailers not accepting cash for transactions. Regardless of intent, this results in the exclusion of some low-income residents and immigrants because they may not be able to obtain a credit or debit card. This bill would mandiate that cash be accepted for retail transactions of up to $100.
HD1747 An Act Relative to Roadway Safety
Current law is ambiguous with respect to how bicyclists, skaters, or other non-motorized transportation users are expected to use unsignalized crosswalks such as those on multi-use paths. This bill would make it clear that these users are to act as pedestrians and be treated as such — they should yield to automobiles that would be unable to stop, and that vehicles that can safely stop must do so to allow safe crossing.
HD1750 An Act Relative to the Enhancement of Child Safety
Ice cream trucks are required to have and use yellow flashing lights when selling treats, similar to tow trucks when performing a tow. This bill seeks to provide an enforcement mechanism, allowing law enforcement officers to assess a $50 fine to any ice cream truck not using yellow flashing lights when selling desserts. Secondly, it would include inspection of these lights as part of the annual vehicle safety inspection process.
HD1458 An Act Relative to Vehicle Excise Tax for Rental Cars
This bill would require that the proportional fraction of rental cars (traditional, moving, and carshare) be registered in the communities in which the companies do business, thereby ensuring that the host cities and towns receive the excise tax associated with the automobiles that are housed within their community.
HD1456 An Act Prohibiting Certain Fees Connected to Rental Cars
Car rental companies have been charging significant daily fees — as much as $15/day — to users who drive the cars on the Mass Pike, the Tobin Bridge, or any other Massachusetts roadway with open road tolling. This bill would allow the rental car company to charge the renter for the toll itself, but would not allow any additional “convenience fee.”
HD1448 An Act to Ensure Charter School Transparency and Public Accountability
This bill would require charter schools to operate in a manner more similar to public schools. Documents and budgets must be made public, and meetings must be open to the public and held locally. Parents must be a more integral part of decision making.
HD2580 An Act to Require Health Care Coverage for Medically Necessary Treatment for Disease, Illness, Injury, or Bodily Dysfunction Required by a Student’s Individual Educational Program
This bill would ensure that the roughly 100 medically fragile students in the Commonwealth are able to use their own medical team during the school day, and ensure that school departments aren’t obligated to absorb any more of the cost than they would under their current obligation.
HD2300 An Act Sparking the Modernization of State Heating Systems
This bill seeks to provide job training for the installation and service of electric heat pumps, particularly to those who perform similar tasks for fossil fuel fired systems; to modernize specific rate-making and cost-benefit analyses related to natural gas; and to prohibit expenditures by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to be used for the purchase or installation of new fossil fuel fired heating systems.